Q&A: Bribing for Votes

Q. We have a board member who goes to owners to fill out proxy votes so the elderly vote for him. This person also pays for 100 owners to have a dinner at the clubhouse to win votes. He has been doing this for years with no repercussions from the president or anyone on the board. Is this bribery legal? Shouldn’t the person be removed from the board? 

—Resident Who Thinks This Is Unappropriate

A. “Under New Jersey law,” says attorney Norman Briggs of the Briggs Law Office in Philadelphia and New Jersey, “board members are protected by the Business Judgment Rule, which essentially says that board members have fairly wide discretion in their decisions as long as they are not acting out of self-interest. The board member in this scenario is acting out of his own self-interest. This would be a clear conflict of interest. Most bylaws have a provision that allows other board members or unit owners (via a request for a special meeting) to seek the removal of a board member when said board member is acting in a manner that is clearly not in the best interest of the association.” 

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